By Nick Beversdorf
This past Friday saw Merrill host the 31st annual Otto Bacher at Jay Stadium. Teams from all around central and northern Wisconsin came to participate in the invitational that commemorates Merrill’s first state track champion.
The weather started out absolutely perfect for a track invite: warm and sunny, but slowly the sun gave way to clouds and the warm air gave way to much cooler wind. Towards the end of the invite, the events were stopped early due to an approaching storm.
Regardless, Merrill performed very well, placing sixth or higher in most events. Many of the Merrill athletes set personal bests. Out of the 11 boys teams and 12 girls teams, the Merrill boys placed second with 108.5 team points and the Merrill girls placed fifth with 52 points. Lakeland was the top team for both boys and girls with 163.5 and 85 points, respectively.
There was a myriad of top Merrill performers at the invite. For the boys, they include Jared Ollhoff: 1st place high jump – 6′, 2nd place preliminary & final triple jump – 41′ 1″; Adam Laehn: 2nd place preliminary & final long jump – 20′ 2″, 6th place preliminary 100 meter dash – 12.01 seconds and 5th place final same time; Todd Grund: 2nd place pole vault – 13′, 6th place preliminary 110 meter hurdles – 17.23 seconds and 5th place final – 17.31 seconds; Austyn Kirby: 3rd place high jump – 5′ 8″, 4th place long jump – 19′; John Greutzmatcher: 3rd place discuss throw – 131′ 6″, 5th place preliminary shot put – 43′ 5.5″ and 7th place final – 42′ 7″; Mitchell Jaeger: 4th place pole vault 12′; Tim Brenner: 5th place 400 meter dash – 54.13 seconds; Tyler Greiser: 5th place 800 meter run – 2:11.08; Dominic Leistikow: 6th place preliminary 200 meter dash – 24.43 seconds and 6th place final – 23.95 seconds; Isaac Meyer: 6th in the 300 meter hurdles – 45.27 seconds.
Laehn, Leistikow, Tyler Butler and Nevada Laabs placed first in the 4×100 meter relay with a team time of 45.46 seconds. Laabs, Ollhoff, Kirby and Peter Seliger placed third in the 4×200 relay with a team time of 1:37.23.
For the girls, top finishes were turned in by Autumn Schenzel: 1st in the preliminary 100 meter dash – 13.29 seconds and 2nd in the final – 13.27 seconds, 1st in the preliminary 200 meter dash – 27.38 seconds and 2nd in the final – 29 seconds, 6th in preliminary & final long jump – 14′ 7.75″; Rylee Folz: 2nd in girls high jump – 5′; Ashlin Berry: 5th in preliminary and final long jump – 14′ 9.5″; Dalie Thomas: 2nd in 400 meter dash – 1:01.62; Emma Jaeger: 9th place preliminary 100 meter hurdles – 19.5 seconds and 7th place final – 18.95 seconds.
“The weather was a nice touch to the meet, but the way the athletes competed to their potential was even more astounding!” exclaims head coach Kurt VandenHeuvel. “As a staff we brought Cornel David Monk to come and speak with the athletes before the meet to reiterate the importance of team unity and belief.
“Tonight they were competing like they believed. We had 800 runners cut 10-20 seconds off their times (Greiser and Wolf), shot putters increase in several feet (Emmer and Greutzmatcher), sprinters compete for first place and get personal records (Schenzel, Thomas), and all three long jumpers got personal records (Lahen, Kirby, Laabs). All the athletes for the first time this season put the distractions aside and competed. Thanks to all the parents, students staff and workers who made this such a special event for the competing athletes and we will use this momentum going forward into the second season.”
For a full list of player statistics, click here.
Merrill varsity track will have their next meet
tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at Jay Stadium. Cancelled